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Ceremonial Half-Celt Pendant

ca. 300 BCE - 500 CE
3 3/8 x 1 3/8 x 1/2 in. (8.6 x 3.5 x 1.3 cm)

Unknown, Greater Nicoya
Costa Rican

Object Type: Jewelry
Medium and Support: Green stone
Credit Line: Marion Stratton Gould Fund
Accession Number: 1973.142
Location: Currently on view
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This form traces its lineage from actual working hand-axes whose blades, or celts, were used for farming and felling trees for land use. In this incarnation, the celt has become strictly ceremonial, yet it maintains its ties to the power and prestige that accompanies land ownership. The half-celt form is one subdivision of a whole celt, carefully split length-wise to produce two pieces, each with a flat back and curved and carveable front. Depicting a crouching figure, this image may represent the human-animal combination of a shaman.
[Gallery label text, 2009]

Provenance
E. Vargas Alfonso, Decatur, Georgia (dealer?); purchased from him by the Gallery in 1973

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